02/11/2009 12:00AM

Stolis Winner named No. 1 despite controversy


The ongoing saga surrounding the caffeine positive of Stolis Winner in last summer's All American Futurity peaked Tuesday when the 2-year-old gelding was named 2008 world champion Quarter Horse in a delayed announcement by the American Quarter Horse Association.

The announcement was scheduled for January, but was postponed after the New Mexico Racing Commission stated that Stolis Winner tested positive for caffeine in the Grade 1 All American Futurity. New Mexico racing has a zero tolerance policy for caffeine.

The initial urine sample of Stolis Winner tested clean and the $1.9 million purse was released before caffeine was allegedly found in a blood test. Stolis Winner was disqualified from the win, and the ruling was immediately appealed and is now pending.

After several weeks of deliberation, the AQHA racing council and executive committee decided to name its 2008 champions based on its original vote, which was completed before Stolis Winner's positive test was announced.

"The champions announcement was originally delayed to allow the AQHA racing council and executive committee an opportunity to consider the implications of the preliminary decision of the New Mexico racing stewards regarding the results of the 2008 All American Futurity," said AQHA executive director of racing Trey Buck in a prepared statement. "Champion ballots, which were cast by the AQHA champions selection committee during the first week of January, had already been counted by the time the stewards' ruling was announced on the eighth of January."

The announcement was made on Tuesday so the winners can make travel arrangements to be honored at the AQHA convention on March 6-9 in San Antonio.

Stolis Winner received 13 of 24 votes for world champion, with one voter abstaining. A son of Stoli, Stolis Winner received 22 votes for champion 2-year-old and champion 2-year-old gelding. He won the Grade 1, $1 million Heritage Place Futurity and the Grade 1, $625,000 Rainbow Futurity before finishing first in the All American.

His owner and breeder, Jerry Windham, was named champion owner and champion breeder.

Owner-breeder R.D. Hubbard will receive trophies for four 2008 champions: Ketel Won, Noconi, Brenda Beautiful, and My Dashing Lady.

Hubbard's homebred Ketel Won is the champion aged stallion for the second straight year. He was also the 2007 champion aged horse. Another son of Stoli, Ketel Won won the Grade 1 Zia Park Championship and the All American Gold Cup for the second consecutive year in 2008.

Noconi and Brenda Beautiful are half-siblings bred and owned by Hubbard and Johnny T.L. Jones. Noconi was named champion 3-year-old gelding on the strength of his win in the Grade 1, $1,066,000 All American Derby. Brenda Beautiful was honored as champion 2-year-old filly after winning the Grade 1, $300,000 Southwest Juvenile Championship. Their dam My Dashing Lady, owned by Hubbard and Jones, was named champion broodmare.

Each of the Hubbard racehorses is trained by Paul Jones, who won his seventh straight champion trainer title. He also trains, bred, and co-owns the champion 2-year-old colt Foose, winner of the Grade 1, $1 million Ed Burke Million.

Champion 3-year-old honors went to the Ruidoso Derby and Rainbow Derby winner Heartswideopen. The black filly is a two-time champion after being honored as the 2007 champion 2-year-old. She was recently sold for a seven-figure sum to Julianna Hawn Holt and will be bred to Walk Thru Fire.

The recently retired One Famous Eagle is the champion 3-year-old colt. He set stakes records in the Grade 1, $933,000 Los Alamitos Super Derby and the Grade 1, $313,000 Golden State Derby,

Three-time 2008 stakes winner Miss Kips Streakin is the champion aged mare.

Jockey G.R. Carter Jr. is the champion jockey for the fourth straight year. His mounts earned more than $5 million in 2008. He was aboard Stolis Winner in the All American Futurity.

Reba Cleata back after layoff

The consistent Reba Cleata returns from a seven-month layoff in the $25,000 Swift Stakes at Louisiana Downs on Saturday,

The winner of the Grade 1 Texas Classic Derby in 2007, Reba Cleata backed up that win with a second in the Grade 1 Refrigerator Handicap and a third in the Grade 1 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship last year.